It was time to create a new salad recipe! Cue my “Warm Winter Spinach Salad w/ Lemon Dijon Vinaigrette”!
What I love about this salad, beyond its vibrant colours, is the combination of cooked ingredients (i.e. roasted butternut squash, red onion), ever-so-slightly warmed ingredients (i.e. baby spinach, carrot, toasted slivered almonds) and raw ingredients (i.e. orange, avocado and a creamy and tangy dressing)!
The result is a satiating meal or side dish that fuels with plenty of dietary fiber, along with some protein and fat. The “Lemon Dijon Vinaigrette” is the same dressing you’ll find on my “Golden Beet & Berry Salad”; a versatile dressing that is just as enjoyable with this salad!
Warm Winter Salad w/ Lemon Dijon Vinaigrette
Yield: ~2 large servings, or 4 side servings
Prep Time: ~15 minutes
Cook Time: ~45 minutes
Total Time: ~1 hour
2 heaping cups butternut squash, cubed
4 cups (packed) baby spinach
2 medium-sized carrots, ribboned using a vegetable peeler (approx. 1 cup)
2 oranges, peeled, sliced and quartered
¼ large red onion, finely diced (approx. 1/2 cup)
½ cup slivered almonds, toasted (increase quantity, as desired!)
2 avocado, cubed
Extra-virgin olive oil
Lemon Dijon Vinaigrette ~
Yield: ~1 cup
2 cloves garlic, minced
4 tbsp. freshly-squeezed lemon juice
12 tbsp. extra-virgin olive oil
3 tsp. Dijon mustard
½ tsp. balsamic vinegar
½ tsp. sea salt
Sprinkling of black pepper, to taste
Preheat oven to 375 degrees Fahrenheit and line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
Wash, peel and cube the butternut squash. Toss it in some extra-virgin olive oil until lightly-coated and spread it on the baking sheet. Place the baking sheet in the oven and let bake for approx. 45 minutes, or until fork-tender.
Prep the remaining ingredients, and set aside in separate containers.*With the carrots, shave the carrots into ribbon-like pieces using a vegetable peeler. When you’ve shaved as much of the carrots as you can, coarsely chop the ribbons into some shorter, more manageable lengths for consumption. Eat the remaining carrot! :)
Prepare the Lemon Dijon Vinaigrette by combining all ingredients into a high-speed blender and blending until thoroughly combined. Pour into a serving container (or a small glass measuring cup with a spout) and set aside.
Spread the slivered almonds out in a small, dry saucepan and place on the stove on low-medium heat. Let toast for approx. 5-7 minutes, or until they become aromatic. Please monitor them closely, so they don’t burn.
Once the butternut squash has finished roasting, remove from the oven and let sit for a few minutes.
At this time, add 2 tbsp. extra-virgin olive oil into a medium-sized saucepan on low-medium heat. Once the pan is hot, add the red onion and sauté for about 2-3 minutes.
Add the roasted butternut squash, followed by the carrot ribbons, and sauté for about 2-3 minutes - just enough time to slightly warm the carrot ribbons. Then, remove the mixture from the heat and set aside.
Place a different (dry) saucepan on low heat and add ½ tbsp. extra-virgin olive oil. Once the pan is hot, place the spinach in the pan and gently turn it in the pan (just a few times), until it is slightly warmed.
Combine the warmed spinach and butternut squash mixture into a large mixing bowl. Add the orange, avocado, and toasted slivered almonds and gently toss with your hands. Drizzle about half the Lemon Dijon Vinaigrette over the mixture and toss gently, to combine. Taste, then add the remaining vinaigrette, as desired until it reaches your taste preference. Any leftover dressing may certainly be used on another salad or with other veggies, etc.
Plate the desired number of servings and ENJOY!